Special Presentation — Beasts of No Nation
This Netflix-distributed war drama follows a young boy named Agu (Abraham Attah in his first film role) from his parents’ murder to his induction into a vicious gang of mercenaries led by Idris Elba (Luther, The Wire, not James Bond), in a performance marked by his signature intensity. Directed and written over seven years by Cary Joji Fukunaga, director of the first season of True Detective, Beasts of No Nation promises to be a heart-wrencher and crowd-pleaser when it plays as a special presentation this fall. Check out the trailer here.
Gala Presentations — Remember
Directed by celebrated Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan (Exotica) and starring legendary Canadian actor Christopher Plummer (Barrymore, The Sound of Music), this revenge drama tells the story of an eighty-year-old Holocaust survivor who sets out to murder the Nazi who killed his family. Co-starring Martin Landau (North By Northwest, Ed Wood) and Dean Norris (Breaking Bad, Sons of Liberty), Remember is a tense examination of the morality of vengeance and its cost. Plummer’s performance alone is worth the price of admission as he gives an incredibly vulnerable and conflicted performance, as can be seen in this trailer.
Platform — French Blood
One of the films up for Best Picture at this year’s festival, French Blood is an unyielding look into the heart of European Neo-Nazism through the eyes of a foot soldier in France’s Front Nationale as the group grows from a street gang to a political movement. Brutal and controversial — the French premiere was marred by cancellations caused by fears of violence by FN sympathizers — French Blood just might be the best movie about organized racism since American History X. Here is the trailer (WARNING: EXTREME CONTENT).
Short Cuts — Barbados
Not up for movies about Nazis, Neo-Nazis, or child soldiers? Buy a ticket for Barbados. This hilarious short film stars Michael Sheen and Radha Mitchell as a hapless suburban couple whose painfully banal existence is forever altered by a visit from the police. Produced by Funny or Die and shot in one day, this Short Cuts special presentation will have the audience rolling in the aisles during its seven-minute run time.
TIFF Docs — Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr
Recently released from Guantanamo Bay after thirteen years in captivity, Omar Khadr’s story has either been that of a psychotic fundamentalist or a child soldier indoctrinated by his family’s politics depending on who tells it. But in Guantanamo’s Child, directed by Toronto Star security reporter Michelle Shepard (based on her book Guantanamo’s Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr) and Patrick Reed, Khadr shares his perspective with the viewer from his capture in a 2002 firefight through his decade of courtroom struggles to his release on bail just last May.